The Saudis need us, not the other way around

More than ten days after Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consultate in Istanbul, Riyadh is reportedly preparing to admit some culpability for the journalist’s death. On orders from President Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about the case directly. The State Department described the talks as “direct and candid;” given the egrecious nature of the crime—ambushing a journalist and permanent U.S. resident in a diplomatic facility, torturing him, murdering him, and disposing of him with a bone-saw—one can only hope the Pompeo read the Saudi royal family the riot act.

At the same time the Saudis are feigning cooperation with an investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh is warning of retaliation in the event Washington issues sanctions on the Kingdom. Turki Aldakhil, the general manager of Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya, bluntly warned that higher oil prices could soon be coming down the pike: “If the price of oil reaching $80 angered President Trump, no one should rule out the price jumping to $100, or $200, or even double that figure.”